Giant Carving Reveals New Info on Ancient Maya Wars

Aug 9, 2013 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: WAPI-AM Birmingham

Archaeologists in Guatemala have announced the discovery of a "spectacular" 1,400-year-old carving that depicts Mayan leaders and mythological figures.

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1 - 11 of 11 Comments Last updated Sep 4, 2013

“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

Since: Mar 07

Nuneaton

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#1
Aug 12, 2013
 
Interesting.

The Maya wars are very important to recognise as since everything in that part of the world was done on foot; the controllable borders of a city state was driven by the ability to travel en masse from A-B & back in a given timespan.

The political system @ the time was a megalomaniac pyramid (strikingly mirrored in the state & religious architecture). & therefore provides a working model of 1920s political systems (faschism, communism, a few other isms with a wacky religious basis..., etc. from inception to annihilation without having to go through them in modern time.

The Mayan apocalypse actually happened @ approximately 890AD when the area of the Mayan city states finally ran out of resources due to the loss of the surrounding jungle converted to farmland & building construction material.
The resulting loss of resources led to raids for tribute (taxable in farm produce) which became unsustainable VERY quickly (a couple of years). The spectacular pyramid built city states then consumed themselves in total war leaving practically nobody left alive as the populace had nowhere to run to,(no jungle), and those looted & robbed had nothing to eat except their own carcasses.

The film "A[pocalyto" had a surprise precedent but there were no spanish ships off the coast in 890AD, and no jungle to run to when the slings & arrows started flying your way.

Far better to study the situation in microcosm in the past rather than live through it in the here & now.

Have a nice day: Ag

“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

Since: Mar 07

Nuneaton

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#2
Aug 12, 2013
 
Oops almost forgot... The mayans went around on foot by & large due to a Karst landscape with thin soil & a jungle covering.

Thanks to the Olmec* ancestry of the Mayans they actually had the invention of the wheel. It was however used for the purposes of keeping the remarkably accurate Olmec calendar (invented by the ancestral farmers whom became the Olmec), and the religious observances used in the pyramids & surrounds. As such the wheel was part of the megalomania that led to the fall of the mayans during the mayan apocalypse.

* The Olmec are also known in some circles as "the stone age motorbikers of despair" due to the appearances of prominent Olmec statues. They had all the gear but were a bit underwhelmed by their technology so never had the Harleys to go with it.
They were active in the Oxaca & Guerrero region of SE Mexico in the early centuries BC, and the Mayans developed from refugees from the fall of their civilisation (whom took the calendar with them).

Have a nice day: Ag
Carlos

Nivå, Denmark

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#3
Aug 15, 2013
 
Adrian Godsafe MSc wrote:
Oops almost forgot... The mayans went around on foot by & large due to a Karst landscape with thin soil & a jungle covering.
Thanks to the Olmec* ancestry of the Mayans they actually had the invention of the wheel. It was however used for the purposes of keeping the remarkably accurate Olmec calendar (invented by the ancestral farmers whom became the Olmec), and the religious observances used in the pyramids & surrounds. As such the wheel was part of the megalomania that led to the fall of the mayans during the mayan apocalypse.
* The Olmec are also known in some circles as "the stone age motorbikers of despair" due to the appearances of prominent Olmec statues. They had all the gear but were a bit underwhelmed by their technology so never had the Harleys to go with it.
They were active in the Oxaca & Guerrero region of SE Mexico in the early centuries BC, and the Mayans developed from refugees from the fall of their civilisation (whom took the calendar with them).
Have a nice day: Ag
The earliest Mayan city states were as old as the Olmecs, and there was some recent evidence that they had cultural interaction already in early times. There's no evidence that they got their calendar from the Olmec. It seems they developed in parallel, not one after the other.

Look up Ceibal!

In any case, I don't quite understand why you brought up the Olmec at all? What have they to do with the decline of the "classic" Mayan city states?

“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

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Nuneaton

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#4
Aug 19, 2013
 
Carlos wrote:
<quoted text>
The earliest Mayan city states were as old as the Olmecs, and there was some recent evidence that they had cultural interaction already in early times. There's no evidence that they got their calendar from the Olmec. It seems they developed in parallel, not one after the other.
Look up Ceibal!
In any case, I don't quite understand why you brought up the Olmec at all? What have they to do with the decline of the "classic" Mayan city states?
The Olmec were predecessors of the Maya and their main civilisations in Guerrero were latter centuries BC. The decline of the Olmec was underway in the latest centuries BC.

The early Mayan civilisations began in the earliest centuries AD and in large part @ that time were in the W. part of the Yucatan in the jungles bordering Guerrero where the artefacts & remains indicate relatively shortlived city states.

The Mayan culture flourished into city states covering the bulk of the Yucatan in the 300-800AD timespan building the impressive stone & stucco ruins seen after modern day excavation.

The thing to remember of course is the short distance of communication due to the lack of roadways (invented later & called "Sak Be"). The area of the region around Guerrero was NOT a desert & would have been repopulated by survivors of both the fall of the Olmec civilisation (BC),and the early W. Yucatan Maya city states,which flourished & declined & fell very early.

The interesting part is that the Maya were also expanding south into El Salvador & the same time and were only stopped by the eruption of Ilopango which covered a wide swathe of jungle with the Tierra Blanco Joven ash & pumice layer (very bad for growing maize). The residual fertility caused by thin layers of the TBJ ash also led to the retention of soil fertility which enabled the southern Mayans after the "apocalypse" to retain small civilisations in the belize area & villages in the Guatemala highlands.

Remember that the Mayans were city states each with their own culture and the term "Maya" refers to an entire region in the same way that mediaeval Europe gains the title "Europeans" with each state at war with its neighbours & wanting to kill them most of the time, while @the same time with trade links & occasional dynastic intermarriage to prevent an outbreak of moronic decay,and to keep @ least one border safe from armed assault (resembles modern drug gangs in mexico but not so wacko).

Now the REAL fun bit. The mayan cities use Pacific shell jewellery which would have been sourced from the pacific coast of the Yucatan. The coast however was completely abandoned by the Maya @ the time of the "apocalypse", and even mayan ruins are hard to find anywhere close to the coast. The abandoned territory was taken over by the "Pipiltin" and artefacts date largely to the time of the Aztec empire. It appears that despite the fertility & returned jungle in the coast range & coast,the Yucatan coast was culturally abandoned until at least the time of the aztec empire with only small village growth @the time when the Yucatan pacific coast was conquered by the Aztecs.
Bear in mind that one of the last mayan city states to survive the "apocalypse" in the Guatemala highlands was abandoned following a major earthquake,& the destruction of one of the surviving buildings (~950AD) destroyed a pacific shell jewellery workshop. It appears that a major tectonic "apocalypse" also struck Central America shortly after the collapse of the ancient Mayans. A large teletsunami (over 10m) struck new zealand in 950AD,which is likely related to this event.

end part 1:

“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

Since: Mar 07

Nuneaton

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#5
Aug 19, 2013
 
part 2:

The Aztec (a minor player in terms of time but a major player in terms of conquered territory), have a starting legend that states that their ancestral homeland consisting of a coastal reed marsh was destroyed by the sea; (the 950AD tectonic event probably was responsible). They then spent a fair chunk of time as a nomadic tribe in the central Mexico region before settling @Tenochitlan. Nothing more to say about them here other than the fact that they were unable to conquer the inland yucatan & post "apocalypse" inland Mayan city states re grown via imports of peoples from the E. "Olmec" region. These were the people that called themselves "Maya" (exactly what the original pre "apocalypse" city state dwellers called themselves is currently still up for grabs by the archaeologists). The originals & the regrowth cities still had the long count calendar.

It is likely as a result of short communication distances & refugees from city collapses (& semi nomadic traders of course), that the original Olmec calendar featuring the long count would pop up from city to city in much the same way as modern cola bottle as a useful thing best kept & re used rather than discarded.

It is interesting however to note that the Aztecs (later) only had the short count. It is likely that they never originated from an area of olmec/Mayan influence & would likely have originated from coastal marshes W. of the Acapulco region.

Of interest nowadays is that the oceanic crust under central America from N.Yucatan through Guatemala to S.Nicaragua is currently freely descending with volume change earthquakes in the descending slab. The volcanoes are currently busy (see Fuego, Pacaya,and several Nicaraguan volcanoes fed by long fractures filled with magma @the base of the crust & upper mantle which are slowly squeezing flat. The forearc in these areas are also relatively busy with earthquakes of various sizes,and the crust per se is still relaxed & is not yet compressed.
Compare this with the crust of the central Mexican volcanic zone with the descending plate arrested & the forearc compressed (only 2 volcanoes active @ present (Popacatepetl in mid zone {domes & little gas}, & Colima in the least compressed part W. zone {domes,flows & occasional explosivity}).

Also compare with the Costa Rica & Panama sector where the crust is in the latest stage of recompression prior to a megathrust earthquake of Tohoku size (bloody great big tsunami). The volcanoes there are now undergoing a dose of the "zit" effect, hot fizz,occasional domes,& sulphur gases from heating of the volcanic edifices. The last long fracture fed volcano "Arenal" shut down in 2007.

A large part of the ability of the "Mayan" civilisations to flourish was the fertilisation of the soil by distal ashfall. Prior to the "apocalypse" of ~890AD, the volcanoes of central America were either quiet or sulphurously steaming, with little or no distal ash landing on the city state tied farmland.
The post "apocalypse" Yucatan flourished after the eruption of El Chichon in ~1300AD, with records of the eruption turning up in local oral tales of villagers nearby. The flourishing was probably due to re fertilisation of the limestone & kaolin soils by distal trachyandesite ash from that eruption.

Have a nice day: Ag
Carlos

Nivå, Denmark

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#6
Aug 24, 2013
 
That's some dated info you got there, amigo. You did not look up Ceibal as I suggested, instead you wrote a wall if text which does not explain why you choose to include all that info about Olmecs and other irrelevant stuff.

I assume that this is just a soapbox for you, otherwise it's inexplicable that you would write about the Olmecs in the context of the decline of the Classic Mayan cities.
Carlos

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#7
Aug 24, 2013
 
Well, I meant the "wars between", not "the decline of."
Narco

Old Lyme, CT

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#8
Aug 30, 2013
 
Do we have an asperger's guy here? Or is he just a know-it-all douche bag to the utter maximum? Here's hoping his civilization is drawing to an end.

“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

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Nuneaton

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#9
Sep 2, 2013
 
Carlos wrote:
That's some dated info you got there, amigo. You did not look up Ceibal as I suggested, instead you wrote a wall if text which does not explain why you choose to include all that info about Olmecs and other irrelevant stuff.
I assume that this is just a soapbox for you, otherwise it's inexplicable that you would write about the Olmecs in the context of the decline of the Classic Mayan cities.
The Olmec civilisation (complete with their characteristic statues), was BC with the Maya area @ the time still stine age jungle inhabitants.

The Classic Maya area evolved as city states derived from refugees from the collapsed Olmec civilisations. There were several experiments seen as monumental cities of early classic date, which collapsed early in the classic period.

During the classic period the Mayan cities flourished, and @ the same time individual city states popped up in the old Olmec heartland area with limited communication between them.

During the collapse of the classic mayan city states there was not enough resources to reoccupy or invade the sites during the decline, and the effect was similar to a burn out. Meanwhile smaller city states continued to exist in the Olmec heartlands and also in the extreme south of the Classic Mayan range in Belize & Guatemala. Most of those also collapsed as a result of lack of resources leading to jungle habitation of village type in the E.Nicaragua borders.

Reoccupation of the classic Mayan sites due to exploitation of regrowth occurred after the decline of the classic mayan city states and @ that time the classic mayan cities were either scrub or jungle covered.

New occupation came either from the Olmec heartlands borders forming sites such as Chichen itza (a postclassic city with mesoamerican architecture & traditions from the Olmec heartlands, OR from the jungle jiving in the deep south of the classic mayan range.

The result was a new cluster of individually flourishing and declining city states, each with their own culture @ traditions and time of operation. Ceibal fits neatly into this timeframe (nah nah ni nah nah! etc. etc...[ie. the Olmec heartlands were not desert]).

Remember that the area is a district label rather than a country. Each of the city states in BOTH the Mayan & Olmec hertlands was the equivalent of a country.

The Olmec heartlands were by & large conquered by the Aztec (whom had a problem with the Mayans in the same way as attacking an ants nest with a small hammer [ouch]. This conquest and subsequent conquest by the Spanish is why the olmec heartlands were little researched (it is more marginal land for Maize crop growing then Veracruz & Yucatan so the city states were smaller with less population, They were still there & paid the Aztec tribute (grain & other things in rent).

The Mayans being unconquered @ the time were in direct contact with the spanish @ their time of arrival & were therefore well written about (in a way typical of lunatic fringe religiously driven slavers). Look to the Arab states and you will see it right here right now... The Spanish were at risk of being militarily defeated through sheer weight of numbers but... the mayans keeled over & died of the pox. Most of the culture (in translation @ the time) went with them. The Mayan long count survived the translation but about 90% of the 15th century city state cultural mix went down with the pox ridden mayans of the day. Which means that the postclassic & classic city states ended up in the same generic archaeological bucket.

As an aside the rapid conquest of the Aztec by the Spanish was in large part preceded by that same "pox" which travelled faster than the spanish did.
Another feature of the Spanish conquest was the attempt by the conquered city states in the Olmec heartlands to rid themselves of tribute demands from the Aztec...(not a feature of Mayans just an aside about the Olmec heartland states.

Have a nice day: Ag

“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

Since: Mar 07

Nuneaton

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#10
Sep 2, 2013
 
As an aside, the site being described in the article is a classic mayan city pre decline. Likely declined during during the apocalypse (~890AD).

One feature of classic sites is the regular building of new larger facades to the buildings leaving the older builds as interior features. Here it appears that the archaeologists have uncovered a now buried exterior decoration.

One other feature of occupation of sites is that old city state sites are avoided in large part by new city states unless a site has been conquered and built on top of while still small.

Mayan & Olmec heartland city states therefore popped up like mushrooms, but unlike mushrooms they persist as stone relics and the numbers therefore multiply with time.

It appears that Holmul was in the distal ash area of Ilopango and was able to grow maize following the ashfall event. The wars with neighbouring city states is classical throughout the Mayan district history (pre and post classic).

As an aside being that it was pox tat conquered the mayans the coming of the spanish would be better described from the Mayan point of view as an "acopralypse" rather than an "apocalypse",(better describing the classic decline of ~890AD).

Have a nice day: Ag
Who is this guy

Old Lyme, CT

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#11
Sep 4, 2013
 
OK, I'll have to go with asperger's, though there may just -- just -- be an element of know-it-all-ism or perhaps an unfortunate case of "I Just Can't Find The Off Switch" disease. It's not that uncommon, especially these days when electronic forums bloom with unhinged and lonely commenters like algae on a hot pond. I definitely nominate this guy for a "WTF" award.

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